As we have seen recently with the earthquake and tsunami that has jolted Japan as well as the political unrest worldwide, it seems as though the hope for peace and security are fleeting away. The Bible does predict this sort of calamity just prior to the Lord’s return. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:6-8, 30.)
There are a number of different views as to the interpretation of these verses as well as a number of other verses that speak of the return of Christ. Some denominations teach that the Lord will return before the millennial reign of Christ (premillennialism). Some believe that Christ returns after the millennial period (postmillennialism) and yet others believe there is no millennium at all (amillennialism). Those who hold to the belief of amillennialism would say that verses such as Revelation 20:4 referring to Christ’s 1,000-year reign on earth are to be taken figuratively and not literally. However, irrespective of which of the three views one holds, all are considered orthodox views and have been held to by both Protestants as well as the Catholic Church down through church history. The point is all three views hold to the belief that the Lord will return (second coming).
We can expend a lot of energy debating the various theological positions as to when Christ will return, (premillennial, postmillennial, amillennial) but for the sake of this article what I want to point out is that it is an orthodox view held throughout church history that Christ will return and after that the judgment. Therefore the more important point to ponder is, are you ready if the end were to come today? As we view the events in the world and indeed in our own nation we see the signs all around us that point to the return of Christ.
So what happens after the return of Christ? I hold to the view of premillennialism so I believe that Christ rules here on earth for 1,000 years prior to entering into our final rest in Heaven (Revelation 20:4), after which time this world passes away, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev.21:1) After the earth is passed away the righteous (those who have trusted Christ as Savior) enter into eternal rest to be with God for eternity, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev.21:4) For those who have rejected Christ as Savior their fate is spoken of as eternal torment and separation from God. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened,….and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:12,15)
Certainly these are challenging times on a worldwide scale. The world has encountered many challenging times over the course of its history. No one knows when the end will occur, but for those who believe the Bible know the end most certainly will occur because we are told by Jesus himself that He will return as well as the testimony of the two angels who were present when Jesus ascended from earth to return to heaven forty days after the resurrection, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
For the believer we can face each day with confidence that no matter how the world events unfold in Libya, Egypt, Iran, Japan, or the United States God has it all under control and will execute his perfect plan to fulfill the Biblical prerogatives just as He indicates in His Word. For those who do not hold to a Biblical worldview must face each day with trepidation and concern because mans plan seems to have put the world on a fast track to destruction and chaos for which there seems to be no solution.
Pastor, Randy Mason
Liberty Baptist Church of Marshalltown